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Cranbury Public Library trustees explore options for pocket library

A selection of cookbooks the author has recently been drawing inspiration from.

A new pocket library for the Cranbury Public Library has been met with some delays, as the board of trustees work to lock in a downtown location for library operations.

Library leadership is continuing to explore all options regarding a new downtown temporary location, since leaving a shared space with the Cranbury School on Aug. 15. The downtown location would be the library’s front office and contain its most popular collection of books.

The board of trustees will have a minor site plan application before the Cranbury Planning Board, regarding one of two locations for a temporary trailer for the library to operate in from the Park Place West portion of the lot owned by the Cranbury Housing Associates (CHA); they are vetting township land on the designated future stand-alone public library parking lot also at Park Place West, and are looking at retail options on Main Street.

“We are considering all options at the moment. What we thought was a clear path with a good location and availability of a temporary structure to bring back library services quickly has run into obstacles and delays,” said Kirstie Venanzi, president of the Cranbury Public Library Board of Trustees.

Venanzi is referencing the CHA location at Park Place West that will be reviewed by the Cranbury Planning Board.

“The temporary library needs to provide barrier-free access for when we move beyond curbside service for books. The library board would like the temporary structure to be in the center of town,” she said. “Currently we are exploring some retail locations on Main Street.”

The library potentially using township office space in Town Hall was a recent option also discussed, but fell through. The Cranbury Township Committee determined in a meeting on Sept. 14, that there would was no additional existing township office space to be utilized for the temporary library operations.

“The Library Board of Trustees would have liked to have a decision on this by now. The Township Committee also wants this quickly resolved,” Venanzi said. “One of the biggest considerations for us is that we need to have the facility be ADA-compliant. We won’t be open in the beginning, but need to be open as soon as possible for all residents of Cranbury.”

The public library is currently operating out of its back office location at an office park that is not open to the public on 109 S. Main St. The back office at the office park houses books, back office items and some computers.

“We do have some good news in that community organizations and residents are really stepping up and supporting the library. Cranbury Housing Associates, Cranbury Historical and Preservation Society, the First Presbyterian Church have all contacted us to partner and find solutions,” Venanzi said.  “I am also very thankful for the residents who have offered to help move books, or store items in the basement or garage for the library.”

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